Basic Pizzetta Dough

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105º to 115ºF)

1 teaspoon honey or sugar

2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To Prepare the Dough:

Hand method

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and sir in the honey or sugar.  Let stand until dissolved and foamy, about 10 minutes.  Mix in 1 cup of the flour, the salt, and oil, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Gradually add the remaining flour ½ cup at a time, beating until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Heavy-duty electric mixer method

In a heavy-duty electric mixer bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir in the honey.  Let stand until dissolved and foamy, about 10 minutes.  Using the flat paddle attachment, mix in 1 cup of the flour, the salt and oil.  Gradually add the remaining flour ½ cup at a time and beat for 2 minutes, or until the dough clings together in a ball and is smooth and elastic.  It is not necessary to knead by hand.

Place the the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place (70º to 80ºF) until doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Use it immediately, or wrap it loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  If chilled, let the dough stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before proceeding.  Prepare the toppings.

To Shape and Bake:

At least 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475ºF.  If using a baking stone or tiles, preheat the oven 30 minutes with the stone on the lowest shelf.  To make appetizer-size pizzette, cut the dough into quarters.  Cut each piece of dough into sixths, pat into a ball, and press down with the heel of your palm to form a disc.  With a rolling pin, roll each piece into a 4-inch round, or stretch the dough with your fingers.  To make 6-inch pizzette, cut the dough into quarters, then cut each of these pieces into quarters and roll them into 6-inch rounds.  Place on 3 oiled pizza pans or baking sheets.  Top with toppings and let rise 20 minutes.  If using a baking stone, place one pan on the preheated stone.  Otherwise, place one pan on the middle shelf of the oven.  bake the 4-inch pizzette for 5 minutes and the 6-inch for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the crusts are crisp and browned on the bottom.  Repeat to bake the remaining pizzette.

Untopped prebaked or partially baked crusts may be made ahead, then topped and reheated or baked.  Most topped pizzette can be made in advance and reheated.  The exceptions are those with cooked seafood, asparagus, squash, or broccoli.  If the pizzette are made in advance, let cool and refrigerate, covered, for 1 day.  Let frozen pizzette thaw.  Reheat in a preheated 425º oven until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.